Despite the sneaker collaboration becoming a trope of contemporary life, there are still instances in which seamless unions can surprise and delight. One such example is the latest team effort from Koio, the disruptive unisex sneaker label based in New York. Known for bringing together luxurious materials and quality craftsmanship to create its sophisticated, versatile styles, the label recently joined forces with the Los Angeles-based sculptor Bradley Duncan to create a limited edition sneaker that cuts a strong figure.

Born in Ohio, Duncan is known for his transformations of land, metal and organic materials into sculptural works of art. Trained at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, his works tend towards simplified geometric forms that evoke order, balance and form in its references of both modern and ancient architecture. Influenced as much by the design principles of the Shaker community, which originates from his home state of Ohio, as the vast geography and native flora and fauna of his current state of California, Duncan’s sculptures and site-specific environments create an arresting impact through their austerity.

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Primo sneaker, by Koio x Bradley Duncan

Transformed into footwear, Duncan’s aesthetic has been adapted into a pared-back high-top sneaker that pairs a sandy-hued natural pebble leather with a clear rubber sole. Leather cord shoelaces enhance the linearity of the shoe’s details and architectural silhouette. Each topped off with a miniature version of Duncan’s carved triangular ‘Waveform’ sculptures, which has been seamlessly placed along the laces of every shoe, the earthy sneaker brings an element of elevation to everyday wear. 

About adapting his creative process to something wearable, Duncan says, ‘I approached the shoe design process the same way I start most of our studio projects, with a vision. The vision for the shoe collaboration was illustrated through a collection of images I have taken over the past few years. Images ranged from my finished sculptures to natural phenomena. Koio translated and then we fine-tuned the details.’

‘Bradley has a unique approach that resonates a lot with Koio,’ adds Koio’s co-founder Johannes Quodt. ‘He uses natural materials and colors and transforms them into wonderfully geometric shapes. In that way, he creates an exciting contrast between the origin of his pieces and their final state.’ §